RAS Reporter

Summer 2020

What's happening at RAS?

New Staff Members

Graduation 2020

Looking Forward

Principal Page

New RAS Staff

Four new staff members have recently joined our community! Sarah Ireley will be our new science teacher, Stephen Vickory will be teaching math, Mary Leonardo will be our new social worker and Ben Ormsby will join the TASC program as the new special education teacher.
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Getting to know Mr. Ormsby

Ben Ormsby joins RAS as the Special Education Teacher in the TASC program.

Q. From where are you coming to us?

A. The Southern-Cayuga Schools

Q. Why do you think you will like working at RAS?

A. I keep hearing that RAS has a great community atmosphere! Everyone I have met has been warm and welcoming.

Q. What hobbies and activities do you enjoy?

A. In the summer I enjoy spending time on my jet ski, fishing, and cycling. In the winter I downhill ski. I also enjoy spending time with my Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Q. What is something you want students and families to know about you?

A. I am committed to helping every student succeed! I am excited and looking forward to working with TST BOCES students and families.

Rachel Drake accepts her accolades at BOCES drive-thru graduation

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Graduation Celebration


RAS graduation is typically a festive affair held at Lower Treman. Families gather with armloads of flowers and balloons to celebrate the achievements of their children. Students sit in the sweltering heat under caps and gowns that make them feel as though they’re wrapped in plastic, while staff members speak glowingly about their time at RAS. There are hugs and tears and too many sweets. The tradition has been a satisfying closing to the school year for as long as I can remember.

Obviously that could not happen this year. Instead students had the opportunity to be fêted individually, including speeches and lawn signs. Some seniors combined their RAS graduation with their CTE Completer Ceremony. Other seniors chose to have RAS staff deliver the graduation ceremony to their home or home town. A caravan of well over a dozen cars traveled to the South Seneca district to deliver four diplomas. While it was a very different series of graduation ceremonies, it was no less meaningful and heartwarming than the traditional event. Students seemed to relish the individual spotlight with their families and school staff.

Contributed by Suzanne Massa

Graduation on the road

RAS staff traveled to South Seneca to wish good luck to our graduates!

Mr. Ormsby says the silver lining to quarantine is all the extra time he gets to spend with his dog.

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Looking Forward


Mr. LeViere and Suzanne Massa, the US History and English teachers, have been working to write interdisciplinary units during the two years that Mr. LeViere has been at RAS. Both teachers believe that a dual perspective helps students to deepen their understanding of the topic. The teachers have been working this summer to write a unit focusing on social justice called the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge. This workshop-style unit features articles, videos, and music from a wide range of sources, and requires students to analyze the various forms of art. Their final project will be a reflective expression of how this immersion has affected the way they understand social justice. LeViere and Massa are looking forward to launching this challenge at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

Contributed by Suzanne Massa

Principal Page

By the time this newsletter reaches you, it will have been almost six months since school was open for in-person instruction. That is really hard to believe. All summer, we have been busily preparing for the return of teachers and students to return to campus in September. At the same time, we are building our capacity to offer a virtual education to those families that request it. Whether students return to campus or attend virtually, there will be many different procedures to learn and school will look and feel different. What has changed?

The staff. As you can see above, we have added 4 new staff members to RAS. We are so excited to have them join us! They are all great additions to our already fantastic staff.

The schedule. To decrease movement and maintain social distancing, the RAS high school now has 5 periods instead of 9. In addition, not all work will be completed during class time. Students will meet with each of their teachers twice a week and be required to complete additional work outside of class (but still during the school day) with assistance from staff (kind of like our AIS periods). Each class period is now an hour or more. Each class period will have scheduled “mask breaks” to allow students to remove masks while maintaining appropriate social distancing.

The class size. While our classes have always been small, many will now be smaller. No class will exceed 8 students so that students/staff can maintain 6 feet of distance between one another.

The food. Well, not the actual menu, but where it is served. Breakfast and lunch will be served in the RAS cafeteria and students will each breakfast and lunch in their first and third period classes.

The safety procedures. Each student will be required to complete an online health questionnaire each morning before being permitted to enter our building. We are installing body temperature readers at all of our entrances. Masks will be required except while eating.

The attendance policy. Whether students attend virtually or in person, it is expected that their class schedule is followed and that virtual students attend classes via Google Meet “alongside” their peers who are attending in person. Unlike in the spring when teachers were meeting with students in the evenings and on weekends, we are returning to a predictable school schedule.

What hasn’t changed?

Our commitment. We are still a nurturing and safe place where students make a fresh start. We still support the academic and personal growth of young people.

Our relationships. We value the connections we make with students and families. When these are strong, our students are more successful. Whether in-person or virtual, relationships are at the core of all we do.

Our community. We work with students, families and one another for the best possible outcomes. We enjoy being with one another and strive to create and maintain a welcoming and kind atmosphere.

Our academics. We continue to offer a high quality academic program that provides all of the credits necessary to earn a local or Regents high school diploma.

CTE: Students enrolled in CTE classes still have the opportunity to participate in those, either in person or virtually.

TASC: We are still offering AM and PM sessions of the TASC preparation program for those students who are working toward their high school equivalency diploma (GED).

We are all looking forward to connecting with our students and families in September. The information about schools and their re-openings is changing daily, so please, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call me at (607)257-1555, ext 2510 or email me at mnolan@tstboces.org

Monty says to wear your mask!

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